FUKUSHIMA, Japan - Their fur caked with
mud, pet dogs trot forlornly in rubble-filled
streets along Japan's devastated coastline,
foraging for scraps and searching for owners.
Luna, a six-year-old Beagle mix, is tied to a
tree, barking for attention or sleeping in a
cardboard box on a dirty cushion, two bowls
of frozen water before her.
Still she is one of the lucky ones. She has
food. Passers-by pet and comfort her. She
gets walked twice a day. And her 55-year-old
owner is alive - he just can't take her into the
shelter he's staying at because of a no pets
Many other dogs and cats have been forced
to fend for themselves since the March 11
earthquake and tsunami, which obliterated
homes and killed more than 10,000 people.
"This is a big calamity for pets, along with
people," said Sugano Hoso of the Japan
branch of the U.S.-based United Kennel
Club. "Many are on their own, and many
more are trapped in evacuated areas where
people have left."
Search for owners
The biggest concerns are reuniting them with
their owners and getting them food, medical
treatment and shelter, she said. Her group is
distributing food and supplies where it can.
As well, thousands of pets have been left
behind in evacuation zones affected by
radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear facility, which was swamped by the
tsunami and remains unstable. Those
animals also face radiation-related issues.
Luna came from the evacuated area, but her
family had time to pack their things and hers
before they escaped.
"When we were told to evacuate, one of the
first things we did was make sure we had
Luna and enough food to keep her going for
a few days," said Masami Endo, a
Endo decided to come to Fukushima city's
main shelter - a gymnasium where about
1,400 people have taken refuge - about a
Tamae Morino brought her Persian-mix cat,
Lady, to the shelter, though the pet stays
outside. The earthquake and tsunami, along
with the sudden change of environment,
have left Lady frightened and agitated.
"She got sick, and is still very nervous,"
Morino said. "She is an important part of our
family. But they don't allow pets into the
shelter, so she has to sleep alone in the car.
She seems very lonely. We are happy to have
her with us, though. So many cats just
Ryo Taira's pet shop and animal shelter in
Arahama, near the city of Sendai, is caring
for 80 dogs and cats whose owners are
unable to bring their pets with them to
Dogs in the News
Pets stranded in Japan await their
SmartDogs Fahavane, Kilflynn, Tralee, Co Kerry. Ireland
Netizens were touched and
impressed by the dog's loyalty even
in a time of disaster.
"That dog is a better person than
most humans. Loyalty is the best
word to use when you describe a
dog. Truly, man's best friend is a
well-deserved title," one
said.Another added, "This hit me
hard. The injured dog looked like
my dog...who I recently had to put
down. Dogs are a true example of
The 2 dogs have been rescued since
the footage aired, and are receiving
veterinary care in the city of Mito,
Yahoo! News said, citing reports
from CNN and the UK Telegraph.